Letters – July, 18 2014

Letters – July, 18 2014

Miracles Happen I can’t believe what Delta did to me! I was supposed to fly MKE-ATL-MDT last week. I arrived in ATL to find my flight to MDT was canceled due to weather. I spoke politely to an agent at the Delta desk who nicely explained my options. In the end, I was back on a flight to MKE within two hours at no charge, plus Delta refunded (not a credit to be used later…) half of my original fare.
I wonder how far some of the other people I saw at the Delta counter who expected Delta to change the weather got?

BB Blues
I agree completely with Franz Jost’s letter to the editor, “Bad Idea”, which appeared in your July issue. I really miss the Bonus Bulletin, and I think it reduces the value of your magazine to the point that renewal may not be in my best interest. I’ve been with you since your early days.
Bob Rietveld

I’m suffering from PVD. It came upon me about a week ago when I got back from our trip to the Amalfi Coast. When we first arrived home, I was happy to be home, but then PVD took hold and since then, I have had trouble concentrating – other than figuring out ways to get more miles/points so I can take another vacation – because that is the only sure cure for PVD – I know this from experience. If you have not experienced PVD, you might not be able to relate to this, but it’s a real affliction suffered by many. (By the way, I’m not talking about Peripheral Vascular Disease, which I’m sure is not something anyone would want to have; but rather, Post Vacation Depression, which is not at all life threatening.)
Thanks, InsideFlyer, for helping me to alleviate my symptoms by showing me a cure and to know that a wonderful vacation is within my reach once again with my miles and points!
Sandy M.

Editors’ Note: You’re welcome. Enjoy planning your next trip!

No More Gamers
Like a lot of frequent flyers, I was not happy when I read about Delta’s move toward a more revenue-based program starting next year. I didn’t want to give up my mileage-based FFP. But, now that I’ve had some time to think about it, maybe it’s just as well.

I’m not a true road warrior, but I do earn most of my miles from flying, not from credit card spend or the various other ways you can pad your frequent flyer account without ever taking a flight. And I’ve never tried to take advantage of any loopholes to get more miles. I’ve had friends who have gone out of their way to game the system and it always seemed a bit unsavory to me.

I recently read a post titled, “Great elite scam!” on Milepoint wherein the author of the post explained how to earn elite miles without having flown the necessary flights. When a person responded with, “Why would you do such a sleazy thing?” the original poster said, “The airlines screw us, so why not give them a dose of their own medicine?”

It’s people like that who make me think a revenue-based system isn’t such a bad thing. Airlines are businesses. If they wish to reward those who spend the most with them, they have every right to do that.

Yes, it might take some adjustments on the part of frequent flyers, but we’ll all survive and over time, we’ll accept it. And the gamers can move on to another target.
James P.

Artful Apology
I found a recent article in The Wall Street Journal very interesting – the article was about how the various airlines handle complaints. I did not know for example, until I read the article, that the DOT will fine airlines for not responding to customers with substantive answers to questions that customers have over the service the airlines provide. Seems to me the DOT must be absolutely floating in money if that’s the case.

What was not surprising, however, is that the airlines rate the importance of the people writing in. The article read, “… top-tier frequent flyer and big spenders get priority.” And that, “a low-level customer may get 3,000 frequent flyer miles for a canceled flight, while a high-value customer who complains is soothed with 10,000 miles.” What this tells me, is that the next time I need to write a letter of complaint (and I’m sure there will be a next time), I should sign it with my husband’s name and frequent flyer number since he’s the 1K member and not me.

Also interesting is that United Airlines, which has the highest rate of complaints filed at the DOT also has the highest number of employees handling complaints, “… a team of about 450 customer-care agents” along with 400 people handling frequent flyer program complaints and 100 answering baggage-related complaints. Seems like United would get a clue that they could save some money by doing a better job and not having to hire so many people to handle all of the complaints!
But then, I guess it’s good for all of those people with those jobs (although I’m not sure how much fun it would be to talk to very upset people eight hours a day – I doubt they get paid enough to make that really worthwhile).

And for all your readers and any “travel hackers” out there, this information from the article might be of importance, “Complaints also are tracked so airlines can peg frequent complainers trawling for extra miles or discounts.” So, I guess if you run into a slew of bad luck you might be pegged a trouble maker!

When I’ve complained it’s because something has truly gotten under my skin. There are many other times that I just don’t bother writing; so when I do write, it would be nice to get a quick and sincere answer – something I don’t feel like I’ve ever received from any airline.
Janey M.

Looking Back
I just took the AirPoll at WebFlyer.com, asking how long I’ve been a member of a frequent flyer program (more years than I would like to admit). And I also recently saw a post, I think on BoardingArea or Milepoint, that listed a URL with photos of flight attendant costumes through the years. I had to pause at the photo of the Braniff flight attendants. It reminded me of my first flight. I think I was about 10 years old. My mother took me and my cousin to Dallas and we flew even though we easily could have driven because the flight was part of the adventure.

It was my cousin’s first flight too and we were so excited we took everything from the seat pocket in front of us for souvenirs – and I mean EVERYTHING – including the barf bag! And a cardboard sign that read “Occupied / Ocupado” that you were supposed to put on your seat if you went to the toilet while you were onboard. It wasn’t until later when we were off the plane that I felt guilty for taking all of it. I mean, what if someone needed that barf bag?

Once in Dallas we rented a purple (I kid you not) Gremlin. Now, at the time, I decided that a purple Gremlin was my dream car! It has since been named one of “The 50 Worst Cars of All Time” by Time magazine.

So maybe at 10, I wasn’t so good at choosing a dream car, but the flight was good.
Dianah Ribble

Subterfuge 101
Did you read where Red Lion R&R Club has ceased to exist? I thought that was very odd that they would just pull the plug on their points program with virtually no warning. Well, you can still spend your points until November, but you can no longer earn points. I don’t know why programs do things like this. I know, I know, this program wasn’t much to start with but I did use it! I liked how simple it was – earn 10,000 points and spend it on any room – no award categories to deal with.
They say members will no longer have the hassle of keeping up with your points. Who are they kidding? Surely themselves if they think members had an issue with keeping up with their points!
They better replace this with something truly stellar when they re-introduce their program – but you know that’s not going to happen. I guess maybe they just don’t have the resources to continue the program, and if that’s the case, why not just say that? Don’t try to “spin” the news in an effort to somehow make this seem like a positive move for members. Give me a break! People are not that clueless! Do these marketing professionals take a class in school to teach tactics like this? Perhaps Subterfuge 101?
Thanks for “listening” – I enjoy your magazine.
Shannon Stevens

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